Can’t get enough of credit card rewards points? Join the party. There is a worrisome trend going on of consumers swiping their credit cards, just to earn reward points. The facts don’t lie – we are a nation obsessed with debt. Despite Canada only having 35 million people, there are more than 70 million credit cards in circulation. That means there’s at least two credit cards per person. Even more worrisome is the fact that 60 percent of the credit cards out there have balances owing on them. Many Canadians are just paying the minimum payment to get by. Considering credit card debt is the most expensive type of debt next to payday loans, this only furthers Canada’s reputation as a nation of spenders, not savers.
A lot of credit card users are turning a blind eye to the fact that there’s no credit card on earth where the rewards you earn outweigh the interest you’ll pay when you carry a balance. Grocery stores, gas stations, student campuses, bank tellers etc ; often have credit card attendants trying to lure you to sign up for credit cards with the promise of “free” rewards points, “free” gas or groceries amongst many other things. Nothing is for free, you are paying for it at a much higher cost than you realize. You may be earning cashback, reward points or travel rewards points, but when you’re paying 20 percent or more in interest, it never makes sense.
The sad reality is this obsession with credit card reward points is more prevalent than you’d believe. Instead of being worried about their credit card balance, far too many people pay attention to their reward point balance. Even if you earn $100 in cashback rewards, it’s not worth it if you’re paying $500 in interest. If you’re not a math whiz, by doing the simple math you’ll figure out carrying a balance never makes sense when rewards points are involved.
There are so many different types of credit cards to choose from with different reward structures. A lot of families prefer the simplicity of a one percent cashback credit card. These credit cards typically offer a higher accrual (typically two percent) on gas and groceries.
If you’re in financial bind, there are less costly debt options out there than your credit card. Ideally you have an emergency fund with three to six months’ living expenses. If you don’t have that, your next best thing is a line of credit. If you own your own home, you can get a secured line of credit at a very low interest rate (you can find one for only 2.75 percent).
If there’s always an outstanding balance on your credit card, you may have a spending problem. Unless you’re able to show some spending restraint, you might have to accept the fact that you’re better off not using a credit card. It may be difficult to give up the valuable reward points that come with it, but it’s worth avoiding the ultra-expensive debt.
Do you struggle with credit card debt? Are you looking to get your debt situation under control? There are solutions available if you’re willing to make the sacrifice. Not sure where to get started? Feel free to contact our office and let us help you fully weigh your debt options.